It is no secret that the STEM fields are male-dominated. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Over the years, many of the gender barriers that were previously up for women have been broken down. However, the STEM field still faces huge gender disparities. Below is a list of women who have started businesses or organizations to make the tech space more inclusive and are helping fill the gender gap in STEM.
Reading time: 5 mins | Published on: 3/7/2022
1. Reshma Saujani
Reshama Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code (GWC). GWC is a nonprofit focused on increasing the number of girls and women in the computer science field. Girls Who Code uplifts and empowers girls to enter spaces currently dominated by men. GWC offers clubs, 3rd-13th grade, so that girls can explore coding in a friendly, fun, and open environment. They also offer summer programs for girls to learn coding and further prepare them for a STEM career. Finally, they connect high school girls with female college students in STEM majors. GWC believes in bravery, sisterhood, and activism. They value diversity, equity, and inclusions and look to aid the next leaders in STEM.
2. Ellen K. Pao
Previously serving as the CEO of Reddit, Ellen Pao is the CEO and co-founder of Project Include. Project Include is a nonprofit whose mission is to give everyone a fair chance to succeed in tech. They use data and advocacy to help make the tech industry more diverse and inclusive. Project Interlude has three values. The first is inclusion, where they improve opportunities in tech for all employees but especially those who are underrepresented. Secondly, they believe in comprehensiveness. This means they don’t have a once-and-done plan. The program has multiple levels that require sustained efforts and a long-term commitment. Finally, they strive for accountability. Project Interlude believes that companies should be holding themselves accountable, so they know where they can improve and how. The Project Interludes website talks about how discussing diversity and change can be complex and how our responsibility is to create change and foster inclusive spaces.
3. Kimberley Bryant
After struggling to find a diverse computer programming school for her daughter, Kimberley Bryant decided to fund Black Girls Code (BGC). Kimberley Bryant is the CEO of Black Girls Code, and its mission is to teach one million girls of color to code by the end of 2040. BGC wants to build futures in STEM for young women of color by introducing them to computer programming and technology. BGC stands by the fact that extreme action needs to take place to close the opportunity gap between tech and females of color. Black Girls Code has many chapters across the globe where women of color can come together, empower, and learn from one another in the STEM space.
4. Julia and Christina Tartaglia
The two sisters Julia and Christina Tartaglia founded the organization Scientista. There is a lack of resources for women in STEM, which pushed them to start their foundation. They formed Scientista with the sole purpose of providing pre-graduate girls with guidance about their future careers in a highly male-dominated profession. Scientista addresses the needs of women and even won a Harvard TECH prize for this great innovation. The sisters want to empower women through engagement in different communities, providing resources, and making STEM field more inclusive for women.
5. Sadie St. Lawrence
After working in neuroscience for a decent amount of time, Sadie St. Lawrence decided it was time for a change. As she transitioned to data science, she realized how much disparity there was in the STEM workforce. To retaliate against the gender gap in STEM, Lawrence launched Women in Data – a diverse community of women at all stages of their careers in data science. Lawrence wants people to feel confident in their jobs and inspire change in others trying to enter this workforce. Today, she continues to provide awareness, education and advancement to women in the data science space.
6. Cynthia Chapple
Founder of Black Girls Code, Cynthia Chapple, wants to change the STEM industry. With a focus based around middle-school-aged black females, Chapple intends to get these girls excited about the possibilities that STEM has to offer. She wants to peak their curiosities while still at a young age and make them feel empowered. With the goal of closing the gap in the STEM industry, Chapple is focused on building confidence in these young girls. Her goal is to provide the young black females the resources they need to be successful in the STEM fields.
7. Sarah Foster
Sarah Foster realized that the gender gap in STEM starts at an early age. Boys were more inclined to answer questions and get engaged with science-related processes than girls at school. This surprised Foster. She wanted to get women more involved with STEM. This led to her to founding STEM Like a Girl. She wants to inspire younger females to get excited about scientific-related careers through this group. She wants to educate young girls about this career path and how they can become research and development engineers just like her, or whatever their hearts desire.
These women all come from different backgrounds. However, they share a common goal of filling the gender gap in STEM. These are all successful, innovative, and intelligent women looking to empower as many girls and women they can. As a result, STEM would become more diverse, therefore more successful and innovative.
Read more about the gender gap in STEM and ways to close it.